. "Setting Environmental Goals: The View from Industry. A Review of Practices from the 1960s." Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1996.
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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals
assessments, and environmental performance evaluation are in much early phases of the adoption process. One of the draft guidelines on Environmental Performance Evaluation (EPE) (to become ISO 14031) notes that EPE "is a process and tool which provides management with information linked to the achievement of an organization's targets and objectives in the environmental management system."53
It is much too soon to predict how the adoption of ISO 14000 will affect the way firms set objectives and targets, but it will certainly make whatever process they use more visible and subject to scrutiny. The standard does not require the firms to make public their progress to these goals, but many will choose to do so in their efforts to gain more legitimacy and public trust, as discussed earlier. And, since many expect that installing ISO 14000 will rapidly become a prerequisite for doing business in the same way that ISO 9000 has, many firms that have not yet become explicit about their intentions with respect to environment will have to first determine what they are going to do and then act to get there. Most U.S. firms ignored the potential power of ISO 9000 as a ticket of admission; this time around, with ISO 14000, they are determined not to make the same mistake and have taken a very active role in the drafting process.
Coordinated Action to Promote an Environmentally Attractive Product
Several industry associations have taken action to promote the products or processes of their member firms as environmentally attractive alternatives. For example, the Aluminum Association (AA) and the Steel Manufacturer's Association are stressing that the ability to recycle certain metals makes their industry less dependent on non-renewable ore resources, and therefore imposes a lower burden on the environment through reduced extraction activities and energy use.
Promoting recycling of aluminum has long been a focus of the AA. Barry Myers of the AA observes that the emphasis has shifted recently from merely recycling beverage cans, to working with auto manufacturers to develop recyclable car parts. He adds that, in 1994, the share of aluminum used in the auto industry surpassed the share used in packaging for the first time.
The plastics industry also sees scope for promoting recyclable plastics as an alternative to heavier materials typically used in durable products. A spokesperson for the American Plastics Council noted that there has been a shift in focus from four years ago when the greatest concern for the industry was reducing and recycling packaging material. There is now a greater emphasis on recycling durable plastics (which are expected to last three years or more) as opposed to non-durable (e.g., soda bottles). While people held the belief that plastic bottles were filling up landfill sites, durable plastics actually contribute two to three times the volume of non-durables in landfills. The APC spokesperson also noted a trend towards increasing the use of plastics in durable items like automobiles and appliances.